Waves of Hope

Gladman's name was certainly not very appropriate for much of his early life. Growing up poor, with alcoholic parents was hard but now Gladman is indeed a "glad man" filled with "joy in [his] heart".

Ironically, the change occurred in prison, where Gladman was finally able to reflect on the choices and circumstances of his past and where he heard a life-changing radio broadcast.

Born in Queenstown in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, Gladman was the only one of his 11 siblings who was not his father's biological child. His stepfather was violent and made him feel unwanted.

"He would tell my mother that she must take me to my real father," he recalls.

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Gladman felt rejected, dropped out of high school, left Queenstown and moved to Johannesburg.

Finding a job, he built himself a shack in the township of Alexandra. It was not much but at least he was building himself a future with his girlfriend who was pregnant at the time.

It seemed as though things were beginning to look up for him, but before his baby was born, he lost his job.

Gladman started using drugs and abusing alcohol, and developed a craving after money. He knew he was on the wrong path but he and a friend decided to rob his former employer.

They also nearly murdered him. "I took his firearm and I shot him in the heart," recalls Gladman, who only realised three months later that the man had survived.

Soon afterwards Gladman was arrested and sentenced to 23 years in prison.

Prison life was horrible but it did give him the opportunity to listen to Trans World Radio (TWR) Africa's mediumwave broadcasts – a Christian radio service.

One day he heard a voice on the radio: "There is a Man who died on the cross. He died for sinners. Their sins can be forgiven. All those who believe in Him will be born again in the name of Jesus Christ."

Through TWR's broadcast Gladman heard that where sin (wrongdoing) abounds, grace (free forgiveness) abounds all the more because Jesus paid for our sins through His death on the cross and offers forgiveness freely to all who believe on Him.

"It is with joy in my heart that I write this letter to you," Gladman wrote from prison to TWR.

"Today I am one of God's children. I am sharing my journey with you so that I can give a testimony about God who gives hope and forgiveness to all sinners. As long as the sinner is willing to change, God is here to help them through."

He concludes, saying: "When the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed (see John 8:36)."

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